Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on Wine Production in the Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area, Washington

Fahrer, Brett
The application of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in viticulture (the study of grapes and there cultivation) is a growing field, where grape growers and researchers analyze everything from the soil suitability of a potential vineyard site to monitoring harvest output over an entire region. Climatological variables have a large impact on viticulture, and GIS has been recently applied to monitor such phenomena as temperature and precipitation in viticultural areas. My research project focuses on applying GIS to analyze future climate trends as they affect viticultural areas. I chose to focus this study on the Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area in Washington because it is one of the largest viticultural areas in the United States. By utilizing climate projection data from the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, I compiled multiple precipitation and temperature scenarios over the next 50 and 100 years for the Columbia Valley using ArcGIS software. These scenarios point to rising temperatures and highly variable precipitation, which will lead to changes in types of grape varieties grown in this area, the elimination of land suitable for viticulture, and the increased need for irrigation infrastructure and water resources to support viticulture in this area.
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